The population of the United States is a smart bunch, generally, well-educated and well-versed in politics. Not much gets by them. I have been in and around politics most of my adult life, and so have familiarity with the attitudes and ideas, and the tactics by which people are grouped, for all our good, into movement politics.
By far the most effective, educated and cagey group is the Democrats. I was born and raised to be a Republican, but as I like to say, I got over to the other side as soon as I could. Once enmeshed with the culture, I found a rich garden, a full life complete with outlets for activism, self-education, and leadership. Democrats had all the bases covered. If I wanted to work to preserve the environment, they offered candidates and pamphlets and legislation designed for that purpose. If I wanted to work for human rights, where else to go? The Democratic program for Central America, the Middle East, South America and Southeast Asia was a feed bag of programs designed to advance development, democracy, and basic human dignity. The national platform included platforms on anti-racism, choice, the environment, control of the corporate sector, and most importantly, peace.
That’s why our society is so well equipped for world leadership. It’s not our leaders – sometimes we introduce clinkers like George W. Bush, but the society as a whole is so vibrant, so well schooled in ground-level organization, and so well-educated that he was but a passing ship in the night, an aberration. Soon enough he was upended and put out to pasture, and a real leader took is place, a highly intelligent man, a scholar, a community organizer, a charismatic figure, and one who was of a minority race. That sort of man could only come to a leadership position by the vehicle known as the “Democratic Party.”
So it is with some regret that I see Barack Obama’s term come to an end. Yet, and this speaks so highly of the party, there is no shortage of leaders. The party has a strong bench. Waiting in the wings is another person of intelligence, compassion, vision and skill, and a woman. I am four paragraphs into this, far enough down that everyone has stopped reading. I’ll return to the theme for the last paragraph, where most eyes generally skip when bored.
James Carville spoke at the Mansfield-Metcalf dinner in Helena last weekend. I should not have put the words “Mansfield-Metcalf” in this paragraph, as skimming eyes might pick up and read what is really being written here. But I think I am safe that most are moving on to the last paragraph. Swede brought me a quote, verified, from Carville, a man who I like for some reason. He said “The voter is basically dumb and lazy. The reason I became a Democratic operative instead of a Republican was there were more Democrats that didn’t have a clue than there were Republicans.” I am feeling a surge of pride in reading that, as I said as much on my own accord in the post below this, that Republican leadership does not have to lie to its base the way that Democrats do, as they are all “Benghazi crazy,” or on the same page ideologically, right-wing extremists who feed on and support one another.
Democrats are a wonderful party. I had to say that at paragraph opening for deflection purposes. Here is what is real. Democrats are a largely ineffective group, tending to be soft and idealistic to a degree, but who care more about winning elections and earning validation points than actually knowing anything about politics and policies. They are so easily buffaloed. Even now, as they are set to say goodbye to Neocon Obama, they are welcoming Neocon Hillary into leadership. She’ll win their nod because she stands a good chance of winning, and because her being a woman feeds their need for that sense of moral superiority they so crave. They’ll ignore her warmongering tendencies and vote her into office, if possible. This country is such a zoo, a well-to-do banana republic with a political iq somewhere in the teens. What was that blockbuster Tracy Jordan movie? Oh yeah. It was called Hard to Watch.
With Obama leaving office, we now might stumble, but I trust the Democrats, with such a deep bench, will put up another person of such intelligence and vision. I hope it’s Hillary, but I trust my party. If not her, someone of equal talent will rise through the ranks. Remember, Obama was known to no one, and by a natural process of grassroots percolation, found himself in Chicago at Grant Park in November of 2008. I saw the tears, the smiles, the hopes of a nation. Maybe that moment will never happen again, but I trust that in 2016, November, an New York, a similar moment comes about when a woman, with her former-president husband and daughter and grandchild at her side, speaks to the throngs of worshiping admirers.
This is our essence, our sense of purpose, our homeland, our hope for the future. We are all Americans, but as a Democratic American, I stand just a little higher in pride and fulfillment than the honorable members of the other permitted party.